January 3, 2023 by Cathy Stack
The dramatic incident occurred during an afternoon hike. Four friends and teammates from Northwest College in Cody, Wyoming, had been hiking in the Montana national forest, searching for shed elk and deer antlers. As they hiked, a grizzly bear suddenly pounced on the closest hiker, Brady Lowry.
Brady’s friend, Kendall Cummings, reacted quickly to try to scare the bear away. He yelled and kicked at the bear and pulled on the bear’s fur.
“I didn't want to lose my friend,” said Kendall. “I could have run and potentially lost a friend or get him off and save him.”
The grizzly turned its attention to Kendall and knocked him to the ground. In protecting his friend, Kendall drew the brunt of the bear’s forceful attack.
“It shook me around and I didn't know what to do,” recalled Brady of the terrifying ordeal. The bear shook him by the arm and then threw him.
Eventually the other teammates scared the bear enough so that it soon retreated and wandered off.
After the attack, Kendall was badly injured, but he managed to pull himself up. The teammates then helped Kendall off the mountain by supporting his weight and carrying him part of the way. Once the boys reached a location with cell service, they dialed 911 for help.
Kendall and Brady were airlifted and treated for their injuries at Billings Clinic Hospital. Brady suffered a broken arm and puncture wounds in the initial attack. Kendall underwent surgery for more serious injuries on his face and arm. Both boys are on the road to recovery.
Their wrestling coach, Jim Zeigler, arrived at the hospital along with the rest of the team to offer moral support.
“I'm proud of them, just the way they love each other, the way they protected each other, the way they stuck together,” Jim said. “I can't imagine the horror, the terror of it. I don't think they realized until after it was over how frightening it was. They just did what they did, helped each other survive and they lived to tell about it and I'm proud of them.”
Brady’s father credited Kendall with saving his son's life.
“Kendell is a hero,” he said. “Any normal person would have turned and ran, but these bonds that they build in college athletics last forever.”
The young men credit their survival to the bonds they formed as wrestling teammates. Brady said surviving the ordeal took a true team effort, with Kendall striking the bear and his other teammates running up and scaring the bear away.
“We love each other. We’re going to be best friends for the rest of our lives because of this,” Brady predicted.
The Foundation For A Better Life and PassItOn believe that Kendall Cummings and his teammates are true heroes. Their action is a great example of the value of friendship. The teammates’ incredible brotherhood helped them all survive. Please help us celebrate Kendall and his teammates by sharing their inspiring story.
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